When looking to buy a property it is generally a good idea to invest in an electrical safety check. It’s much like getting a property survey to find out if there’s anything that could be affecting the property structurally, yet what that can’t tell you is what state the electrics are in, that’s where an ‘electrical installation condition report’ (EICR) can help.
As with the condition of the property itself, electrical systems can deteriorate over time, and it’s important to ensure that the electrical system in a property is safe and in good working order before you purchase it.
But what exactly can an EICR tell you and is it essential when buying a property?
What is the purpose of an EICR?
An EICR is a detailed report that assesses the safety and condition of an electrical installation in a building. The purpose of an EICR is to ensure that the electrical installation is safe to use and meets the current safety standards and regulations.
An EICR is usually carried out by a qualified electrician who will inspect the electrical installation in a building and test the various components to ensure that they are in good working order. The electrician will then compile a report detailing the findings of the inspection and any recommendations for repairs or improvements that may be needed.
What does an EICR entail?
During an electrical safety check, a qualified electrical safety expert and tester will inspect the electrical system to ensure that it meets current safety standards. This may include checking the condition of the wiring, testing the safety of the electrical outlets and switches, and inspecting the electrical panel to ensure that it is in good working order.
An electrical safety check can help identify any potential issues with the electrical system, such as outdated wiring or faulty outlets, and can give you a better understanding of the condition of the property you are considering purchasing. It can also provide peace of mind and help prevent any unexpected problems or expenses down the line.
Is an EICR a legal requirement when buying a property?
While it is not legally required to have an electrical safety check if you’re planning on living in the property you’re buying, it’s highly recommended as it can help ensure the safety of the property and protect your investment. An electrical test is always recommended by a surveyor in a homebuyers report.
Furthermore, an EICR may be required by mortgage lenders when buying a property, and it’s something that any prospective home buyer should be aware of. It’s also recommended to get your property checked every 10 years or whenever any major electrical work has been completed.
If you’re buying a new build property this should come with an electrical installation certificate (EIC) and therefore, you won’t need an EICR.
However, if you’re buying a property as a ‘buy-to-let’ you will legally be required to have an EICR before tenants move into the property.
EICR and buying a rental property
As we touched on before, it has been a legal requirement across the UK since June 2020 to have an EICR. This is to make sure rental properties are safe for tenants.
Although you don’t need to do this when buying the property you will need to have it carried out before renting it out. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get it done during the property transaction when you’ll likely be doing other checks and making other outgoing payments.
Landlords are required by law to ensure:
- That when tenants move in, the electrical installation in the rented property is safe and is maintained throughout the tenancy
- That HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) have periodic inspections every five years
- That any appliances provided within the rental property are safe and have at least the CE marking. (A PAT test is an effective way for landlords to ensure that they are meeting their legal obligations to maintain exacting standards of electrical safety in their rented property).
How much does an EICR cost?
The cost of an EICR will depend on several factors, including the size and complexity of the electrical installation, the location of the property, and the experience and qualifications of the electrician carrying out the inspection.
In general, you can expect to pay between £100 and £250 for an EICR on a small property with a straightforward electrical installation. For larger properties or more complex installations, the cost could be higher, potentially up to several hundred pounds.
It’s a good idea to get quotes from several electricians to compare prices and ensure you are getting a competitive rate. Be sure to check that the electrician you choose is qualified and experienced, as the cost of an EICR is likely to be a small investment compared to the potential cost of repairs or remedial work that may be required if the electrical installation is found to be unsafe.
What are the benefits of an EICR?
As we’ve mentioned it’s not necessary to have an EICR unless you’re a landlord. However, there are several benefits to consider when weighing up the pros and cons, including:
- According to the charity Electrical Safety First, the average cost of an electrical problem after you’ve moved in is £1,704. An electrical check could highlight any potential red flag issues before they become a serious problem
- If the report uncovers something serious you could renegotiate the house price. As you would with a home buyer report or even a structural survey you can use the EICR to renegotiate the price with the seller
- Sometimes mortgage lenders will ask that you do an electrical safety check before they offer you a mortgage
- In addition, some home insurance companies will only offer you cover if you’ve had the properties electrics checked, therefore you must have the report carried out to ensure your insurance is valid
- Finally, it’ll give you the full picture of what you’re buying into before it’s too late. Having the EICR on top of the usual property checks and surveys means you can make an informed decision before you exchange contracts. After that point, you’ll be legally bound to complete the purchase
An EICR is an important document that can give you a clear picture of the electrical condition of your property, especially if you’re buying an older house. Although it’s not essential if you’re planning to move into the home it could help prevent a costly surprise after you’ve completed the property transaction. And for those that are buying to let – it will be a legal requirement before tenants move into the property.
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